Women’s hospital in Dubai aims for 100 per cent female staff

Women make up 87 per cent of the 500-strong staff at the 100-bed Medcare Women and Children Hospital, which hopes to encourage more females to pay attention to their own health.

The Medcare Women and Children Hospital in Al Safa, which will have an all-female staff.  Antonie Robertson / The National
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DUBAI // A hospital for women and children is aiming to have an all-female staff in the near future.

They already make up 87 per cent of the 500 staff at the 100-bed Medcare Women and Children Hospital, which hopes to encourage more women to pay attention to their own health and not delay seeking treatment for conditions.

The hospital, off Sheikh Zayed Road in Safa 2, already has women only in its radiology and gynaecology departments.

It was officially inaugurated on October 6 by Princess Haya of Jordan, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“Our dream is to make this 100 per cent powered by women,” said Dr Shanila Laiju, chief operating officer for the Medcare Group.

“Hopefully we will be able to do that very soon because now there are ladies in all the specialities. We want this to be a one-stop shop for all women’s needs.”

The hospital specialises in obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics, gastroenterology, endocrinology, urology, plastic surgery, general surgery, dermatology and dentistry.

It is hoped that the large female staff will encourage women to have regular tests and scans.

“We want to use this as leverage to encourage women to come in,” said Alisha Moopen, chief executive of hospitals at Aster DM Healthcare. “Sometimes as women we think that if we don’t know, we don’t have to deal with health issues, especially when they are our own.

“When it is about others then we are very keen to look after them but, for ourselves, it is the lowest on our priority list and we really want to change that.

“We are hoping the comfort level for women to come and do tests will be higher in a facility like this.”

During October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there will be screening programmes with mammograms and campaigns to teach women self-examination.

Ms Moopen said women often delayed regular check-ups. “Even if we organise awareness activities sometimes there is reluctance from women to actually do tests that are required at certain stages in their life.

“The differentiating factor we hope will be having a hospital largely manned by women.”

While the official launch was on Thursday, the hospital has been functioning since July with about 170 babies delivered so far each month.

The paediatric centre covers areas such as cardiology, orthopaedics and urology.

The incidence of congenital heart disease is about one in 100, said Dr Sangeetha Viswanathan, a specialist paediatric cardiologist.

“Most will need observation, particularly if they present a condition when they are small babies,” said Dr Viswanathan.

“If some need treatment right away then we do it. But we tend to wait either for spontaneous resolution or until a child gets a bit older for surgery.”

The hospital has a swimming pool for patients and will soon have a yoga centre, spa and salon.

The cost each day is Dh1,300 for a single room, Dh6,500 for a deluxe room and Dh9,000 for a suite.

Medcare Women and Children Hospital is the first speciality hospital run largely by women.

Another run by women for maternity and general medicine opened in Abu Dhabi last year.